This month, we look at the fastest-growing ingredients in entrees on Canadian menus over the latest year-over-year period.
Earthy, spicy flavours are gaining momentum, with poblano and chipotle sauce rising by 31.3% and 18.2%, respectively. Restaurants are spotlighting poblano as a queso in breakfast favourites, such as skillets and omelettes, and as a crema in tacos and lunch bowls. For example, Lone Star Texas Grill menus fish tacos, featuring ancho poblano crema. Chipotle sauce, however, is mostly popping up in classic comfort foods, including pizza and burgers. With 76% of consumers agreeing they enjoy moderately or very spicy foods and over half (51%) expressing that they prefer chipotle-flavoured hot sauce, operators should incorporate these mild to medium spicy ingredients in entrees to add a zesty heat.
Plant-based protein and poke also grew by 22.2% and 17.1%, respectively. Since almost two-thirds of consumers (65%) consider vegetarian offerings to be slightly or much more healthy, and a quarter express that they are ordering more healthy items at foodservice now than two years ago, restaurants are featuring plant-based proteins in a variety of applications, including soy patties in burgers or quinoa in bowls and salads. Although poke bowls with seafood proteins remain most popular, a few operators are launching on-trend, health-oriented poke bowls that include plant-based proteins and trendy ethnic-inspired flavours.
One rising ethnic ingredient is turmeric, up 16.7%. With over a third of consumers (38%) reporting that they find flavour imparted by seasonings or spices appealing in vegetarian and vegan dishes, concepts should continue to spice up veggie-centric entrees, such as cauliflower-based dishes, with this pungent spice for enhanced flavour complexity and a touch of ethnic flair.